Later that day, Launcelot arrived at a hermitage, complete with Nacien, this book’s official wise hermit. The two of them sat down, as Launcelot poured out his heart. It was a whole nother monologue about how sad he is!
But Nacien wouldn’t hear it. “You’re Sir Launcelot du Lake, Knight of the Round Table! You’re the most celebrated knight in Christendom and generally just the best! Ye ought to thank God more than any knight living, for blessing you with your tremendous and unmatched jousting prowess! Granted, you’re full of sin, but that was your presumption to take upon you deadly sin for to be in His presence. Jesus isn’t punishing you. This is just the natural consequence of your choices that you chose to choose. Ye are the more beholding unto God than any other man, to love Him and dread Him, for your strength and manhood will little avail you if God be against you.”
“You’re right, you’re right of course,” said Launcelot. “I should never have fallen in illicit courtly love with Guenever. Can you become my twelve-step sponsor?”
“I’d be honored,” said Nacien. “But you’ve got to promise to stop sleeping with Guenever.”
So Launcelot swore a solemn oath and Nacien blessed him.
Then they had a little chat about the mysterious holy voice that started off this entry. The hermit claimed that the various appellations possessed symbolic meaning: Launcelot was harder than stone because he was too heavy and thick for the Holy Spirit to enter him. He was too guilty for Jesus, just as a rotting tree was too bitter for squirrels (or something). He was like a fig tree, also, which Nacien strained a little to explain but came up with a reference to Mark 11:12-14.
And on the morrow when they were come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree afar off, that had leaves, He went to see if He might find anything thereon: but when He came unto it, He found nothing but leaves: for the time of figs was not yet. Then Jesus answered, and said to it, Never man eat fruit of thee hereafter while the world standeth: and his disciples heard it.
Just as Jesus cursed that fig tree, so too had Launcelot’s sin cursed him, said the hermit.
“Wow, I would never have caught that one,” said Launcelot. “No wonder you’re a holy hermit!”
“Yes, I’m quite holy,” agreed Nacien. “Now, for your penance, I want you to spend a day praying with me, then go back to knighting and having strange adventures, but this time being holy while you do it. Like Galahad or Percivale or Pellas the Good.”
“Sure thing,” said Launcelot. “Except Jesus took all my knighting stuff.”
Nacien indicated this was an easily solved problem, perhaps because Jesus and Nacien were so tight.
And then Sir Launcelot repented him greatly.